Catholics in Ayrshire are being urged to fight a proposal intended to strip the Catholic community of its voting rights on East Ayrshire Council's Education Committee.
The Bishop of Galloway, Bishop William Nolan wants them to urge local councillors to support Ayrshire's Catholic community and vote against any such moves to ensure its schools' Catholic ethos is maintained.
He warned that if the proposal to remove voting rights from church reps, advanced by the National Secular Society and the Humanist Society Scotland was passed, it would "would weaken the Church's voice and would do nothing to enhance Catholic education".
In a message to be distributed at Sunday Mass in churches across Ayrshire this weekend (21 & 22 September 2019) Bishop Nolan says: "given that the Diocese of Galloway and East Ayrshire Council have always had a harmonious relationship regarding education, it is not clear why the Council should consider this proposal worthy of consideration."
The bishop goes on to ask parishioners to contact their local councillor as a matter of urgency to ask them to vote against any such motion.
The full text of Bishop Nolan's message to Ayrshire Catholics is shown below:
"Once again in Scotland the very existence of Catholic schools is being called into question. Two newspapers, the Scotsman and the Times, both had front page articles last week written by those calling for the abolition of Catholic schools.
Sadly, in this hostile environment, East Ayrshire Council has decided to discuss whether to remove the voting rights of the Church representative on the Cabinet which determines education matters. The Council is doing this in response to letters received from the National Secular Society and the Humanist Society Scotland. Since both these societies wish to see an end to Church influence in education it is understandable that they should propose this. However, given that the Diocese of Galloway and EAC have always had a harmonious relationship regarding education, it is not clear why the Council should consider this proposal worthy of consideration.
Since the Catholic Church handed its schools over to the state in 1918, Church representation has helped ensure that the Catholic ethos of the schools is maintained. All Councils are obliged by law to have a representative from the Catholic Church. To deny that representative a vote would weaken the Church's voice and would do nothing to enhance Catholic education.
I am disappointed that the Council is even considering this proposal. I will be in touch with them to let them know my concerns. I invite you to make your views known to your local councillors."
Scottish Catholic Media Office - www.scmo.org
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